In the family of Latin languages, Galician-Portuguese may be the mother, as it is a part of most other European languages.
UNESCO estimates that there will be more than 335 million Portuguese speaker by 2050, meaning that by learning the language you will be joining an incredibly fast growing community.
The history of Portugal dates back almost a thousand years, and every since it became a country in 1143, it has been influencing and shaping the world that we live in today. If you learn portuguese london (or any other city for that matter!), you are giving yourself the opportunity to travel to several countries across the word, as well as even working in an international company due to your language skills.
Read on to find out why you should be learning the language of Magellan!
Learning Portuguese to Travel All Over the World
Portuguese is a language spoken in Europe, South America, Africa, and even Asia. Learning Portuguese to travel is a great reason to study as you will be able to interact with vastly different cultures in very different parts of the world.
What could be better than making the trip from your Portuguese textbook to the country itself? When you arrive, you will be immersed in the culture, architecture, and gastronomy of the country of Ferdinand Magellan.
From Lisbon to Porto, Cascais to Sintra, you will improve your Portuguese language skills by rubbing shoulders with the natives of Portugal. Simply by basking in the southern European sun, you can quickly improve your Portuguese listening comprehension on your way to one of the country's numerous UNESCO sites...
You better bet Brazil is a place to visit if you are learning Portuguese! Don't believe us?
As the 5th largest country in the world, Brazil has so much to offer its visitors.
There are world famous tourist sites in Brazil, such as:
- The spectacular Iguazu Falls on the border with Argentina and Paraguay.
- The Amazonian forest. Go and see it before it becomes a vestige of our ancient civilization (A little bit of learning about environmental issues won't hurt anyone!).
- The city of Rio de Janeiro, known for its beaches, its Corcovado statue and fun carnival (Samba!).
- This former Portuguese colony (independent since 1822) boasts more than 200 million inhabitants whose Portuguese "lingua" is the country's native language.
A variant of Portuguese - so much so that it is sometimes called Brazilian Portuguese - this version of the Latin language is home to the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world with many a Portuguese teacher, a country that can sometimes leave you speechless. Indeed, it will be necessary to make a linguistic effort to adapt to:
- The softer accent, often with a more "guttural" pronunciation.
- The nuances between formal and informal language, which, like Spanish in Latin America, is much less obvious than in Europe. For example, "você" is used without a,
- The lexicon: especially in the writing of certain words.
- The conjugation: simplified, this one is much easier to memorize than European Portuguese.
To a lesser extent, other former Portuguese colonies such as Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, or Mozambique - where Portuguese remains an official language - may offer opportunities, particularly in the humanitarian sector.
Search for a Brazilian Portuguese online course here.
Learning Portuguese: Between Language and History
Whether it's via evening classes, summer school, or free Portuguese courses online, learning Portuguese is also an opportunity to discover the origins of this Latin language.
The history of the Portuguese language is an interesting one. Formerly influenced by Roman colonists, Portuguese has probably evolved - in phonetic, etymological, and lexical terms - from a more popular Latin.
Mixed with other languages and dialects, Galáco-Portuguese developed after the fall of the Roman Empire in the fifth century before becoming, in the thirteenth century, the official language of the Kingdom of Portugal (thanks to King Denis the 1st) and the prestigious language of medieval European lyricism.
Moreover, it was the colonial empire of the most powerful people at the time, and by learning Portuguese, we can discover this often forgotten phase in the history of Portugal:
- The treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which divided the "New World" between the Portuguese and Spanish empires,
- This seafaring people, with their navigators and explorers such as Magellan, Vasco de Gama, etc...
- The time of great discoveries with the journey of Magellan to the Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) that ended in a world tour which left geographers, explorers, and traders speechless.
Finally, historically, the Portuguese are a migrant people, so it is not surprising to find people of Portuguese origin in many different countries throughout the world. Let's list them:
- In sports: Atletico Madrid footballer, Antoine Griezmann has Portuguese heritage on his mother's side.
- In cinema: Forrest Gump actor, Tom Hank's mother is of Portuguese descent.
- In music: the Cape Verdian singer Cesaria Evora, or the American Nelly Furtado.
- In literature: José de Sousa Saramago, the writer and only Portuguese Literary Nobel Prize winner in the history of Portugal.
Although not all of them are ambassadors of the Portuguese language, they all show the diffusion of the Portuguese throughout the world.
The Benefits of Learning Portuguese: The Career Options Available Afterwards
Not knowing a language might constrain you to not being able to do the kind of work that you want to do.
Apart from learning it for its beauty, Portuguese is important professionally, too. There are specific jobs for Portuguese speakers, and learning the language will open up possibilities to live in Portugal or Brazil.
Working in Portugal
Despite an economic crisis which has hit the country over the last ten years, there are some vacancies in the service sector, including tourism in hotels and catering in Lisbon for example.
To speak Portuguese is an important part of being able to work for these hotels. If you need a VISA, your chances will increase if you have a good grasp on the language. English will also be a really important asset if you are looking to work in Portugal.
Going to Work in Brazil
Several choices are available to Portuguese speakers, such as:
- The Work Holiday Permit, which allows you to work in Brazil for one year in almost every sector,
- Entrepreneur, by opening the subsidiary to a foreign company, a new company, or by making investments in Sao Paulo or in other cities by means of a visa,
- As an expatriate, an employee of a foreign company based in Brazil, or as part of an international volunteer abroad
- an English teacher teaching English as a foreign language to Brazilians
You should obviously think about what kind of visa you will need, as this will need to be taken into account, as will what efforts you will need to engage in when thinking about expatriation. There is always the need to improve one's language level.
Note that whatever you choose, it will be necessary to speak, write, and understand Portuguese in its Brazilian, Angolan, and Cape Verdean versions.
Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn to Speak Portuguese
If you still need some great reasons for learning Portuguese, then here are our top 10...
1. Portuguese is One of the Most Spoken Languages in the World
The Portuguese language is:
- The 7th most spoken language at the international level.
- A language that has a presence on five continents including 9 UN member countries.
- A language that has 300 million Portuguese speakers using it.
- One of the official languages of the UN.
- The fifth most used language on the web.
2. Traveling to Portugal
If you are looking to perfect your language skills, a trip to Portugal is essential.
With a beautiful ocean to look at, 300 days of sunshine a year, and a rich historical, gastronomic, and architectural culture, you may not want to say no to an immersive trip to Portugal.
We know you are dying to pack your bags and get to Portugal where you can communicate with people on the beaches of the Algarve and the streets of Lisbon.
3. Traveling around Africa
The former African Portuguese colonies offer a unique version of Portuguese with their use of a patois in Guinea Bissau, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principe.
Traveling there is a way to polish up your language skills by practising with native speakers.
4. Traveling to Latin America
Latin America, another popular destination for Portuguese-speakers, is home to Brazil, the largest Portuguese-speaking nation in the world - with nearly 200 million speakers - in which one will no doubt reach fluency level in Portuguese.
A former Portuguese colony until 1822, Brazil has since reinvented the language of Vasco da Gama to create its own version.
Brazilian Portuguese differs from European Portuguese both in the vocabulary and the expressions used, but first and foremost in its pronunciation of the language.
For those who have already learned the European version of the language, a period of adaptation will be necessary to acclimatise to the accent of the Cariocas in Rio de Janeiro, those living in the north in Recife or the south in Porto Alegre.
5. Discovering a Musical Language
The tonic accent, with its syllables and atones, (also specific to Italian) and its nasal pronunciation, and closed vowels suggest that Portuguese is a language that is even more musical in Brazil.
6. Discovering an Incredible Culture
Let's talk culture for a moment. Here's what Portugal has to offer:
- An architectural cultural heritage recognized more than 20 times by the Unesco authorities,
- Natural landscapes that would make a coal factory "green,"
- A Portuguese cuisine that gives our taste-buds wings and is classified as a guarantor of the Mediterranean diet by UNESCO,
- A literature that has left a historical trace including the poetry of the troubador,
- Amazing music, such as Fado, among others, listed as intangible cultural heritage of the world since 2011.
7. Learning a Language that Has Interested the West for Decades
There are Portuguese migrants living across the western world. They have taken with them their language and culture. The spread of the language and culture of Portugal has led to them both influencing life in the west.
8. Learning Portuguese: To What Professional Ends?
There are many opportunities for a Portuguese speaker. And one should remember that language skills are always likely to enhance a CV - sometimes even more so than English and Spanish - when it comes to:
- National education, which often seeks to recruit native Portuguese teachers, or private language schools, too,
- Translation-related professions, particularly those in international institutions, of which Portuguese is one of the official languages,
- The IT and telecommunications sectors in Portugal, which have now resurfaced after the economic crisis,
- In Brazil, during events like the World Cup or the Olympic Games in Rio recently,
- The flourishing economy of Angola, the former Portuguese colony.
9. To Sing Cesaria Evora
Nicknamed "The Barefoot Diva," she is the icon of Cape Verde, and one of the ambassadors for the beauty of the Portuguese language worldwide.
Note that Stromae, the author of Papaoutai, paid tribute to her sublime voice through the song "Evora."
10. To Quickly Learn a Language Close to Spanish
Portuguese comes from Latin, and its conjugation, vocabulary, and grammar are very similar to one of the most popular languages at schools across the world; Spanish.
The linguistic proximity is often forgotten given the different accent and pronunciation, which is very specific to where it is spoken - Brazil, Portugal, or even Cape Verde.